AT&S - Leoben
ROMER Case Study AT&S - Leoben

Portable measuring arm ensures the performance of photovoltaic modules

Europe‘s number 1 circuit board manufacturer, Austrian company AT&S, has developed a new type of solar module with a particularly high efficiency rating. A ROMER Absolute Arm is helping to make the most of the performance capabilities of the modules.

AT&S is one of the world’s leading suppliers of high-quality circuit boards. These boards carry and provide the electrical connection to mounted components in practically every electronic device. AT&S products are mainly used in portable devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs, in automobiles and the fields of industrial and biomedical technology.

 

The solder ribbon dilemma
AT&S exploits the know-how gained from making circuit boards to manufacture photovoltaic modules using a new connection technology. Solar systems consist of individual cells connected together to form a solar module. In conventional modules, the cells are connected by solder ribbons to conduct the current. The manufacturers of these modules either use relatively thick ribbons (which leads to greater shadowing of the active cell surface) or very thin ribbons (which cannot carry as much current). In either case, these solar modules are less efficient because the calculation is based on the sum of the theoretical output of each cell. Mario Egger, Photovoltaics Department Manager at AT&S, says: “The use of these connecting ribbons results in efficiency losses of up to 2% per module. The cumulative loss for a large installation over decades is immense.”

 

Backsheet foils mean more output
AT&S has completely avoided the connecting ribbon dilemma in its photovoltaic products. At its factory in Leoben, the company manufactures conducting foils for providing the contact on the back of the solar modules. Various coatings on the conducting surface insulate and strengthen the foil. Thirty-one contacts, which must coincide with precisely defined points on the back of the solar cells, are left uncoated on each foil. Mario Egger explains the advantages of this...

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